I is for Imp by India Jackson
Less Than 3 Press
3.75 Pants Off
Donavan is a lowly thief, scraping by picking pockets with the help of Oriax, an imp he once helped and who now is his companion on the streets. When they learn of a tournament that is to take place a few days away, they cannot resist the opportunity. But their hopes of easy gold are soon shattered by an unexpected and dangerous presence …
This one is for fans of fantasy with a medieval feeling! It's actually my favourite story in this bundle and it would have been nice if it were a bit longer, with some more background information about the knights.
First of all the story reminded me a bit of a fantasy game, the knight who fights for the king, an evil spirit haunting the castle, who turns out to be in the ruler. Now doesn't that sound a bit like something of Final Fantasy? And so the adventure begins with a thief, Donovan and his imp Oriax, though the thief doesn't exactly know that he has an imp, who perform on stage and while they distract the people with magical tricks, one of them can go and steal the money from their audience.
After they are robbed Donovan and Oriax agree to participate in the Jester tournament of the King, to their surprise they meet one of the holy Paladin Knights, and understandable Oriax is not happy about that meeting. With their tricks Donovan gets the position of the court Jester and it's not an offer he can refuse. What he doesn't know, is that there have been some problems in the castle and that something evil dwells in it, which is also the reason the Paladin was there, who is paying quite a lot of attention to Donovan, but it might not be for the reasons one would assume.
While I would love to have some more background in formation, the story itself is nicely paced. The characters are entertaining and the romance is very light. I enjoyed the fantasy game feeling of this one and if one wants to read a short, well written fantasy, then this one is just the thing!
Less Than 3 Press
2. 75 Pants Off
In an effort to help mend a long-standing rift between the Shui-long dragon clan and the Ceffyl Dŵr, Xin-jian reluctantly agrees to be the ambassador for the dragons and spend time amongst the Ceffyl Dŵr. The enemy he comes to know is nothing like he expected, however, especially Tiernan. But before he can truly begin to explore peace, he must stop those who will not give up the old hatreds.
Xin-jian is from a rare breed of dragons and the foster brother to the dragon princess Mai-hua. When the princess is attacked by Ceffyl DÅµr, their old enemy, he meets his match. Surprisingly Xin learns that the princess wanted to have peace talks and it's the presence of her brother, who followed her, that provoked the attack. Even more surprising is that the Ceffyl actually is not against peace between their two races, would even welcome it, at least that's what Xin and Mai-hua find out, when they visit the Ceffyl's lands. It's not after their meeting with the dragon Emperor that they find out why there is a conflict and why he doesn't wish for peace.
The beginning is quite promising, a battle, two enemy races facing each other sadly that doesn't last. I had hoped for enemies to lovers and this might be the case it term that the two races are enemies. Xin's mate fights against him in the beginning but they fall in love pretty quickly, so the enemy part is mostly superficial. The story is fast paced on the one hand, but I felt that it was progressing too fast, while not really allowing for character development. Mostly all falls into place and the evil Emperor is very predictable. Also I didn't really like the characters; they felt a bit flat to me.